UK's 'crazy' opt out will let criminals run free
Published 29/12/2012 | 05:00
DAVID CAMERON'S "crazy" plan to repatriate powers from Brussels will allow paedophiles and criminals to run free, Europe's most senior justice official has warned.
Viviane Reding, the vice-president of the European Commission, attacked the British prime minister over his government's proposal to opt out of EU law enforcement and policing measures.
The justice commissioner expressed particular concern that the British government was "minded" to opt out from 135 EU crime and policing laws, including the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which, she claimed, had "horrified" Britain's own police force.
"Do you want criminals and paedophiles running around freely on the streets? Is that really in the United Kingdom's interest? It is crazy," she said.
In June 2014, the crime and policing legislation comes under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, handing control of sensitive extradition and policing issues to EU judges.
Under the Lisbon Treaty, Britain must either opt out of every measure or allow the EU jurisdiction over all 135 pieces of European legislation.
Mr Cameron is under pressure from backbench Tory MPs to show that he has won a new political "settlement" that claws back or "repatriates" powers from the EU. Opting out of the justice measures provides him with an opportunity to declare a victory and will avoid Conservative splits over giving the EU courts ultimate power. Reflecting hardening attitudes in Europe, Ms Reding, the centre-right commissioner from Luxembourg, rejected any possibility of Britain "repatriating" powers from the EU.
Senior police officers and the Liberal Democrats oppose leaving the EAW, but most Tories want to pull out unless it is reformed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)